‘Softball Game, Down East Maine’

Here’s another softball poem from the vault. This one was first published in the literary journal “Kennebec” at the University of Maine, Augusta. I spent many summer days in Maine during the 1970s and ’80s, visiting a friend who lived near Ellsworth. I brought this poem to a writing workshop led by a university-professor poet on the West Coast, who asked the group if this was a poem at all. He said it read more like the script for a beer commercial. That’s what you get when you risk showing your work to serious people. I was experimenting with forms. Who says it’s not a poem? Somebody at another university later put it in a literary magazine.—PM


Softball Game, Down East Maine


This is a town meeting.

Otis Ice Cream Palace vs. The Heron Chokers.

Lumpy field near Maggie’s camp—

dead grass, cereal box bases,

junked car hood backstop.

Regulars pull up on bikes, cycles,

in pickups, old vee dubs.

Fifteen players, six gloves,

and a dog-chewed catcher’s mitt.

A couple-three cases of beer.

Total equal opportunity.

One pitcher wears combat boots;

the bat’s a cracked 34.

Talk about Game of the Week—

this is all beyond TV.


—Paul Marion (c) 1995